Welcome to the Bereavement Authority of Ontario’s FAQ for licensees
Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that our BAO staff regularly receive in phone calls and emails. Some of the answers to these questions and more are also found in our handy and free BAO Consumer Information Guide. See page four to reference the guide’s table of contents.
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For the public (families/consumers), we also have an FAQ page for you.
FAQ for licensees –
Professionals & business operators licensed by the BAO
1. From whom to Take Direction – Who has the right to make arrangements for the deceased?
The Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA) does not prescribe from whom to take direction for the provision of death care services. As a result, the BAO cannot provide legal advice on any matter relating to the entitlement of any person to make death care decisions, and can only offer general guidance and information.
If there is no will, and therefore no executor/estate trustee, the Succession Law Reform Act sets out how the deceased’s estate will be distributed.
It is up to the funeral home to be satisfied that they are dealing with the correct parties. If there is a family dispute among next of kin, we would advise the funeral home to advise the family to either reach an agreement or go through the courts to have an administrator assigned. In addition, funeral homes are encouraged reach out to their own legal counsel for guidance.
Interment rights, if not specifically mentioned in a will, typically follow the Succession Law Reform Act. This means, for example, that after the interment rights holder (IRH) passes away, the rights are passed to the living spouse first. If there is no spouse, then equally to adult children. If there are no children, then in order of grandchildren, great grandchildren, parents, then siblings, then to aunts, uncles and cousins. The foregoing is not intended as legal advice, and families should be encouraged to seek independent legal advice specific to their situations.
It is up to the individual cemetery to be satisfied that they are dealing with the correct parties, and in many cases, supporting documentation or permission forms as proof that they are taking direction from the current IRH may be required.
2. What steps should we take with unclaimed cremated remains?
An operator must keep cremated remains for a minimum of one year from the date of cremation after which time the operator may arrange for their interment in common ground. Pursuant to O. Reg. 30/11, an operator in possession of cremated remains must make reasonable attempts to contact the person entitled to receive the cremated remains prior to the interment.
3. Are refund cheques on prepayments issued to the Estate of the deceased?
The Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA) does not specify to whom the refund must be made. While it is typically the estate of the deceased or the owner of the funds originally used to prepay for the contract, this remains a business decision at the operator level and may depend on the terms and conditions of the original contract.
4. Do I need to update my place of employment, if it changes?
Yes. Licensees are required to notify the BAO of any changes to their employment within 15 days of the change and must include the reason(s) for termination, if applicable. All changes must be received in writing by sending an email or submitting a Change of Personal Information form.
5. To whom must cemetery by-laws be submitted?
By-laws must be submitted to the BAO and approved prior to taking effect. The submission procedure is on our website on this page called Cemetery Sample Documents and Contract. If a cemetery does not have by-laws, sample by-laws are available on that webpage.
6. Do I have to submit my price list to the BAO as well?
Price lists, contracts, and interment rights certificates are not required to be filed with the BAO but will be reviewed for compliance as part of the inspection process. All operators in Ontario must be in full compliance regarding these requirements.
As a reminder, in accordance with Section 69 (1) of Ontario Regulation 30/11, cemeteries must notify any affected marker/monument supplier that you have dealt with in the past 12 months about such increases and must do so at least 30 days prior to the new price taking effect. Price lists must be on an operator’s public website or offered in print to the public.
7. What can cemeteries spend Care and Maintenance income on?
Please refer to the Ontario Regulation 30/11 Section 93 for the details on the acceptable use of income from your Care and Maintenance fund or account.
8. What is the Care and Maintenance contribution for financially assisted burials?
Pursuant to O. Reg. 30/11, s. 89, a contribution to the Care and Maintenance fund may not need to be made for financially assisted burials.
9. What is required for a disinterment?
Written permission from all interment rights holders and arrangements for the transfer of the deceased/cremated remains to the new place of interment, where applicable, must be made prior to the disinterment taking place. In the case of a full body disinterment, notification must be made to the local medical officer of health (Medical Officer of Health’s permission is not required for a disinterment of cremated remains).
The original cemetery must update its records and retain all written permissions. If the lot is re-purchased from the interment rights holder(s) or resale of the interment rights is permitted, prospective purchasers must be advised that the lot was previously used. Consider restricting non-staff presence at the disinterment where safety could be a concern. The cost for disinterment must be on your price list, and your by-laws should outline what is included in the cost of a disinterment. Please see Ontario Regulation 30/11 Section 162 – Disinterment and removal of human remains.
10. Can the use of vaults be required?
The use and sale of outer liners and / or vaults to consumers cannot be made mandatory, unless the Medical Officer of Health deems it necessary. Cemetery by-laws can require the use of vaults or liners for specific sections where there are safety concerns requiring it, i.e., issues with the water table, grading, sloping or embankments or for double/extra depth interments. Operators that require the use of vaults in certain situations must also have a section available where the use of vaults is not mandatory.
11. What are the depth requirements for the burial of cremated remains?
There is no provision in the FBCSA outlining a required depth for the interment of cremated remains. Operators are urged to include a policy for interment of cremated remains in their by-laws.
12. A. Should a small cemetery operator, with usually fewer than 10 interments per year, be collecting the new $30 fee (as of July 1st) in case they end up reporting more than 10-interments on their annual licence renewal? (the threshold requiring that $30 licensing fee be paid to the BAO).
12. B. If cemetery operator collects the fee, but then doesn’t report more than 10 interments do they then have to refund the fee to the consumer or would they remit the fees to the BAO regardless of the Annual Licensure Report exemptions?
Cemetery operators that are unsure whether they will exceed 10 interments in a given year can decide whether they want to collect the Bereavement Authority of Ontario Consumer Protection Fee throughout the year or not. They may also decide whether to include the $30 fee in their service fees (such as in the opening and closing fee), or to list it separately as a disbursement.
Cemetery operators choosing to list the fee as a disbursement, and not exceeding 10 interments that year, would not be expected to refund the fee to consumers nor forward it to the BAO.
(Answers to questions about the BAO’s licensing renewal fee — called the Bereavement Authority of Ontario Consumer Protection Fee — are found on this page.)
13. Will the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) be subject to – or added to – the licensing fee, called the Bereavement Authority of Ontario Consumer Protection Fee?
The BAO does not charge HST on any of its fees.
14. Can people have their pets buried with them?
Yes, deceased pets can be buried with deceased humans at a human cemetery provided the cemetery bylaws permit this. Cemetery operators write their own bylaws, which must be approved by the Registrar, Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002. The Act itself is silent on pets being buried with humans in human cemeteries. So, the BAO has chosen to write a guideline for cemetery operators, if the operators want to permit burials of pets with humans. Read the guideline here.
Answers to questions about the BAO’s licensing renewal fee — called the Bereavement Authority of Ontario Consumer Protection Fee — are found on this page.
For answers to questions on required Financial Compliance (FC) matters with the BAO, read the FAQ written by our Financial Compliance (FC) team at this link:
FC FAQ – Knowledge Base for Licensees PDF
Got a question we haven’t answered here? Please ask us your question at one of the email addresses on our Contact Us page.